- Matthew Cranston reports on The Land that many large-scale Australian cotton farms are up on the auction block for international investors as market conditions sour. A number of major holdings totaling over $1 billion are currently up for sale as offshore interest, particularly from China, filters back to the country at the same time that weak cotton prices and drought concerns have bank and agribusiness confidence in cotton at the lowest levels since they peaked in 2010.
- Mike Kelley reports for AL.com that the John Deere 7760 cotton picker may be the ultimate cotton harvester, harvesting 6 rows at a time and spitting bales out the back. The picker packs its own bales as it harvests, eliminating the need for both boll buggy and module builder, saving time as well as transportation and labor costs. The machine is expensive but can cut your labor force by half, freeing more help for other crops or reducing the need to find decent temporary workers.
- AgWeb.com reports that two distinguished cotton economists predict a decline in U.S. cotton acreage next season as low cotton prices entice growers to switch to soybeans and other crops. The report notes that the promise of 80 cent cotton drove production up this year and many of the Mid-South growers who switched will likely return to their previous crops.
On the Lighter Side
- Jaine Treadwell reports for the Troy Messenger that Alabama’s Pike County recently held its annual Farm-City Week, including the Farm-City Swap where members of the farm committee and members of the urban community swap jobs for a day to generate greater appreciation and respect for each other’s professions. This year a local surgeon got to try out picking cotton by hand while his farmer counterpart removed staple from a post-op patient’s stomach. Each decided they prefer their own job, but found they share more similarities than they’d expected.